Water Efficient Landscapes
Water Wi$e Incentive Program
Ventura's City Council approved the Water Wise Incentive Plan on March 9th, 2015. What this means is that Ventura Water Department staff is now working to establish a Water Wi$e Incentive Program which will launch sometime this summer. As indicated in the Plan, residents may qualify, after a pre-installation inspection, for up to $800 for smaller lots and up to $1,600 for larger lots, to pay a licensed contractor to remove high-water use turf, purchase low-water use plants, permeable mulches and landscape design plan. Additionally, up to $300 may be available to upgrade irrigation, convert to drip irrigation, or remove it entirely and install rainwater harvesting equipment. Projects already completed cannot be eligible. Projects already started and not completed may still qualify. No rebates will be issued until a pre-installation inspection has been completed and all the recommended activities are verified as completed. There is not waiting list available at this time. To be notified when the program launches, please sign up for the Ventura Water's Pipeline Newsletter. For more information, call 805-652-4501.
Drought-Proofing Your Landscape
It's time to recognize the "new normal" and shift from resource intensive, turf-centric landscapes to something more sustainable. There are things you can do now to drought-proof your landscape and make it the most sustainable landscape in town. Here are just a few ideas to get started:
Check for leaks. Everyone can be more diligent about checking to make sure that toilets, faucets, hose bibs, irrigation systems and other appliances and devices are in good condition and performing appropriately. You can call a local plumber or landscape contractor to help you assess the condition of your plumbing. The City of Ventura is diligently repairing main lines and working with our Facilities and Parks Departments to ensure that our operations are water-tight. Partner with us to be California's most water efficient community. Request a free water survey from the Ventura Water Department.
Consider converting your lawn to a Ventura-Friendly Garden. While many communities offer rebates to replace turf with native or climate appropriate plants, the return on investment without a rebate is still worth considering. For example, an average 1,000 SF lawn with ornamental plantings in Ventura would cost an average of $1500 annually to maintain (gardener to harvest green waste, fertilizer and water). While, the same 1,000 SF garden would cost less than $500 annually if everything was converted to native and climate appropriate and watered with rainwater and graywater. Make a plan to start converting toward a more sustainable garden today.
Determine what stays and what dies. It's time to triage your garden. What can't you live without and what can you allow to die? You can cap and abandon some spray pop-ups or convert them to drip and then mulch that area. Reducing overall turf amounts and making sure you are irrigating it most efficiently will save you money, water, green waste generation and time in the long run.
Purchase a rain barrel (or two). The City of Ventura offers a 50% discount at Smith Pipe and Supply for quality rain barrels. Yes, it hasn't rained yet, but when it does, be ready to harvest this precious resource. You can also use it to store water saved when waiting for the water to get hot.
Install a simple Laundry to Landscape Graywater System. Depending upon your washing machine model, you can capture a significant amount of water to use for your garden. There are rules which must be followed, but it is simple to set-up and is an untapped resource. Check out the information on how to set-it up and learn what the rules are for Ventura County and a general recommended parts list.
Drought-proof your trees. Want to know how to help your trees survive the drought? Check out this information from California Urban Forests Council.
Information About Artificial Turf - When you think of being more water-wise or drought tolerant, artificial turf may come to mind. There certainly are many pluses to artificial turf. For instance, it requires very little water (it does require being hosed off from time to time) and there is no maintenance or green waste generation. Many companies produce their turf using recycled content materials and many are also recyclable once they reach their lifespan. Some companies are even putting rainwater catchment cisterns underneath the turf field to capture stormwater. There are, however, a few downsides to artificial turf. Healthy, living soil, acts like a sponge, soaking up stormwater and allows that water to be used by the plants and trees, which allows them to root deeply, thereby ensuring long-term survivability. These plants, in turn, provide habitat for bees, butterflies, birds, and other species, cool our communities and help clean the air and sequester carbon. Artificial turf can "off-gas" and sometimes increases temperatures and provides no habitat value. In many cases, like dedicated play and recreational areas, artificial turf makes sense. But, if your goal is to be more sustainable, there are many other options for creating healthy, low-maintenance, low-water-using landscapes.
For more information, call 652-4501.
Be Smart About Outdoor Watering
A beautiful landscape can be water efficient and help you save money. Managing your irrigation system and controller is key!
Set your irrigation timers at season appropriate watering cycles and as always, set them to water only in the early morning or later in the evening to avoid evaporation and wind interference. Invest in high-efficiency sprinkler nozzles for your pop-up sprinklers for less than $5 each and save as much as 30% water consumption.
Rainbird, Inc. has a great online site for homeowners. http://www.rainbird.com/homeowner/education/index.htm
Hunter, Inc. also has an interactive calculator for homeowners.
Below is a guide that you can use to set your irrigation timer. The information came from UC Extension's IPM office.
Learn about being Watershed Wise. A watershed-wise landscape works with nature rather than in opposition to it. It takes into account climate, soil, habitat, hydrology among other things.
Visit Save Our Water: Sprinklers 101's one-stop site for homeowners and professionals looking for information and online resources on water-efficient irrigation. Homeowners will find easy-to-understand information about how residential sprinkler systems work, information on drip irrigation and other smart ways to reduce landscape water use, as well as loads of online resources. Professional landscapers will find online resources, links to manufacturers and manuals, education and licensing information and much more.
Sustainable Ventura TV Show: Sprinkler Spruce Up
Watch the Sustainable Ventura TV show, which aired on CAPS-TV, Ch. 15, focused on local, hands-on tips for outdoor watering and landscaping. For 24/7 viewing, you can also watch the show and individual videos on Ventura Water’s YouTube channel. And while you are there, check out the videos on Sustainable Landscaping and Surfrider's Ocean Friendly Gardens if you are ready to transform your lawn into something truly amazing.
Inspired And Ready To Do More? Transform your yard into a water-wise garden and visit Water Wise Gardening in Ventura for great ideas and useful information. Use the Hydro-zone Plant report function to build a plant list divided by water-use to help maximize water efficiency. Browse the Garden Tours for new ideas to recreate a corner or all of your yard. Find a wealth of information in the Resource pages and be sure to visit the Watering Guide for help managing your irrigation system and watering needs. Consider installing an Ocean Friendly Garden to increase permeability and retention of rainwater while increasing habitat value and decreasing water bills and green waste generation.
Save Our Water: Real People, Real Savings In Ventura
Most Californians think that they use more water indoors than out. The truth is that in some areas between 40 - 60% or more of the water we use daily goes on lawns and outdoor landscaping. There are lots of ways to save water at home, but reducing the water you use outdoors can make the biggest difference of all.
Read the stories of three pioneers in Ventura, and others across California, who have already transformed their outdoors and have been featured in Save Our Water's Real People, Real Savings program.
The grass is not greener on the other side of these fences, but these smart homeowners are keeping more of their green while enjoying beautiful, lush native landscaping. A true win/win!
A rain barrel discount program for City of Ventura residents is now available through Environmental Sustainability and Ventura Water, while supplies last.
Working in cooperation with Smith Pipe and Supply at 3060 Sherwin Avenue in Ventura, the Channel/Bushman 60-gallon rain barrel with a retail value of $85 will be available for $42 plus tax at their store with a Rain Barrel Discount Voucher.
Along with the voucher, proof of Ventura residency such as a Ventura Water bill or other utility bill or document that shows a City of Ventura address (not a driver’s license) must be shown to receive the discount. Two rain barrel discounts are available per residential address with the voucher.
Additional rain barrels may be purchased at the full retail price. The rain barrel is for non-potable water use only. Vouchers are available through Environmental Sustainability by calling 652-4584 or printed directly from the website. This program is subject to supply and funding availability. Here's a helpful video on how to install the barrel yourself.